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What Is the Story of Gulliver’s Travels?

Gulliver’s Travels is a series of four books about Lemuel Gulliver, a surgeon who has a group of adventures in four different areas.These adventures help him form a new outlook on humanity and society.The author of the book, Jonathan Swift, expresses his opinions about his society by satirizing the societies that Gulliver visits to suit his own.

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The task at hand is to compare and contrast Book one and Book four of Gulliver’s Travels. I will compare and contrast this book in terms of setting, character, theme and plot.

One more important factor to consider is the satires that were made in each of these books; as well as, Gulliver’s mood in each and how his adventures affected him. The first point of comparison and contrast is the plot. In Book One, we see that Gulliver is the surgeon of a ship called the Antelope. The ship that he is in goes into a terrible storm where twelve of the crewmembers die. Gulliver and the remaining crew members board a rowboat to escape the wrecked ship. The rowboat then turns over and Gulliver has t o swim to shore in order to survive.

He falls asleep on the shore and when he wakes up from his slumber he finds himself tied down. Gulliver gets introduced to the Lilliputians where he is welcomed by them later on in the book. He is taken to the Emperor and the Emperor was really entertained by Gulliver. After a long time in Lilliput, he is used as a ‘national resource’ for Lilliput, used in the wars against Blefuscu. The war that was on between the Lilliputians and the Blesucuns was about the different ways of cracking eggs which is really a useless matter to argue over.

Finally, Gulliver is accused for treason because he put out a fire in the queen’s apartment with his urine. He would be shot ion the eyes but he convinces the Emperor to allow him to leave and the Emperor agrees. He goes to Belfuscu where he gets on a canoe and goes home. In Book Four, Gulliver is captain of a ship where his crew conspires against him and take him prisoner because they want to be the pirates of the seven seas. They drop Gulliver on a rowboat where he manages to row to an island. He decides to look for inhabitants or humans where instead he finds horses that treat humans like trash and only use them like slaves.

He befriends a horse (they call themselves Houyhnhms) where he discusses his society to him and describes a lot of the characteristics of humans or yahoos in their language. The second point that should be mentioned in the comparison between Book One and Book Four is Gulliver’s character in each of the books. In the actual books, Gulliver is a surgeon and the purpose of this is that surgeons, in general, are respected and trusted for the decisions that they have to make in the operating rooms; Swift makes Gulliver a surgeon so that he would be an expert in note taking and that he can make us believe and trust Gulliver.

In the first book, we see Gulliver as a person who is just criticizing the government of the Lilliputians, and all he is doing is expressing his opinion. In Book Four, we see that Gulliver is an unreliable narrator as his views are extremely tedious and that the arguments that he makes about humanity are unfair and unjust. Heading back to book one, we saw that Gulliver was a peaceful man that made excellent critics of his the government of the Lilliputians. Through the books and leading all the way to Book Four, we realize his violent and aggressive nature, adding to the mistrust that we have for him.

In Book One, Gulliver’s violent nature was unnoticeable as the book was focused on the government and the living system of the Lilliputians. Gulliver’s name suggests the word gullible; he does realize the ways in which he is being used in the books. In Book 1, Book Two, he is being exploited in terms of acts and behaviour. He had to fight a war that was between the Belfuscuns and the Lilliputians. In Book Four, we realize his gullibility by the exploitation of knowledge that does happen.

This element of exploitation is obvious in the book as in the first few books it is in terms of material acts and items while in the last book it is the terms of the knowledge gained by the Houyhnhms. The last element in the character of Gulliver is the misanthropy that he develops at the end of the book. The cause of this misanthropy is view at the Yahoos in the island of the Houyhnhms. He couldn’t stand Yahoos, even his own family, that he bought himself a horse and talked to him at the very end, “As soon as I entered the house, my wife took me in her arms, and kissed me, at which, having not been used to the touch of that odious animal. . The term odious that he describes his wife with shows how much he could not stand his own wife which is quite depressing really. He really wanted to stay with the Houyhnhms at the island. This contradicts the part in the first book where he wondered if he would ever see his family again and his children. Gulliver’s character was deeply altered through his travels, but mainly altered in the final book where he developed his misanthropy and the hate of the humans of the world, at the very end, he bought himself a horse that he talked to instead of his family and the friends that he might have had.

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What Is the Story of Gulliver's Travels?. (2017, Aug 08). Retrieved February 18, 2020, from